Can the RetroArch Open Hardware Project Inspire a Cross-Platform Game Console?

RetroArch Open Hardware Nintendo 64 cartridge reader

Ever get annoyed that you have to switch between devices to play classic games? RetroArch has a plan to change this, and it starts with “ProjectFuture” – the RetroArch Open Hardware project.

The idea is simple: “with the RetroArch integration, we finally get the promise of a true cross-platform game console where you can take your games library with you, whether it’s digital or physical, and just use it across the devices that you already have RetroArch on.”

However, that is a long way off. For now, the RetroArch team are giving fans a sneak peak at the first stage of that. It’s a prototype N64 cartridge reader, with USB Type-C cable, that can be connected to PC (for example) as a mass storage device. A working prototype has been developed, but details are scant at this point. What we do know is this:

“When we mentioned before that we want RetroArch to be its own game console, we pretty much meant it. And being able to take your own game copies with you and run them with RetroArch seems like an obvious next step to take.”

Basically, RetroArch wants to inspire hobbyists and developers to contribute to the project. By providing an alternative to proprietary, expensive, and hard-to-find systems like Retrode, this project can blow open the barriers to legal retro gaming. No more ROM downloads of games you already own because you can’t play the original media!

Here’s the important part though: is this a cartridge/CD only project, or will tape be included? At this stage it is too early to say, but obviously we hope so.

We’ll leave the final word to RetroArch: “We hope that RetroArch Open Hardware will be a contagious project that will see many contributors and participants working towards one common goal.”

Image credit: Libretro